It feels like we just got back from Austin yesterday, but it’s already been almost a month! Wowwee time flies! This was actually one of my favorite trips that we have ever taken, and I’m hoping we get a chance to visit again soon! This was our “honeymoon” trip, if you will, since our elopement happened so close to the busy holiday season, and what a relaxing trip it was! We didn’t worry about planning to do too many things or racing around to find the best photo spots, and I think it shows in our photos!
But don’t worry, we made sure to hit all the best places to eat and shop! Plus, we enlisted our friend Kristen Long of In Company Paper to make another printable map of these hotspots in Austin, just to make sure you don’t miss any great locations! Before we get started, I also wanted to mention Kyle used our new smaller camera to make something everyone has been asking us to make: A VLOG!!!!!! That’s right, we did a few videos of our travels and Kyle put it all into our very first VLOG. If you guys like it, let us know, because we would love to do more. Now, let’s get this guide started!
If you’ve ever seen anything about Austin, I’ll bet it was the Austin Motel’s sign! It’s an iconic symbol of the city, and the motel itself is just as fun! It’s full of color and character, and has been on Congress Avenue since 1938! Even though the rooms have been renovated, it still has all of its original charm, and is a must see even if you aren’t staying there. Not only does it have an awesome pool (which had been converted to a heated pool the day we arrived! perfect for the colder nights we experience!) and 24/7 shop with snacks, drinks and cool gifts; there were also two cats we saw wandering around the motel grounds!
If you’ve ever watched our stories from when we visit LA, you know that we always stay at The Line. There happens to be one in Austin as well, and it looks just as cool! Its located just over the bridge into downtown Austin and looks out over the Colorado River!
If you want to stay even more local than a hotel on Congress, your best bet is to check out all the airbnb listings for Austin! There are a ton of unique homes you can stay in, from airstreams, to newly built midcentury modern designed homes to tiny A-Frames. We stayed at one for the last two nights of our trip that was super cool (unfortunately it isn’t listed for rentals currently) that was just off of Congress Ave, but within walking distance of everything! PLUS we were visited by another cat! Talk about my favorite part of the trip! Haha!
One of my favorite stops on this trip was Room Service Vintage! Located on the NorthLoop, which is also home to other great vintage shopping, it had a wide range of things to shop through. From furniture, to glassware, to clothing as well as more kitschy items! Kyle scored some ViewMaster reels, and I got a mini parrot tiki mug and a dress! If you only choose to visit one vintage store (which should be a sin!) then this should be it!
A cool vintage mall located a little out of the way from the main shopping areas, Uncommon Objects is definitely the opposite of your average vintage store. It’s front section has mini rooms that are organized by color, with one room having all green objects and a green bookshelf filled with, you guessed it, green books! Then as you move further into the store, you come across things like Space Age tin toys, topographical maps, doll heads and lots of other quirky objects with a sense of history behind them! If you spend the time you can find some real treasures, like my salt and pepper shaker Cockatoos, or Kyle’s 1939 World’s Fair pennant banner! And a word of caution to those who are a little squeamish, there are a LOT of taxidermied animals, posing as children through out the store.
Within walking distance of the Austin Motel is this absolute gem of a shop, where I found two amazing pieces: A 60’s floral print handbag and an amazing dress. This is also where Kyle found his interesting Pennsylvania Intercourse shirt!
A fun and kooky toy shop, carrying stuff from Japan, like blind boxes, as well as gag gifts, and “normal” toys. To top it off, they have a sweets shop as well, so you can grab a cookie and your favorite collectible.
If you know anything about us at all, then you now that we both love pinball! So, Kyle tries to make it a point to find at least one pinball place for us on each trip, and this one was AMAZING! PinballZ is a huge arcade with SO MANY pinball machines, quite a few of them I hadn’t seen before either! Not only do they have pinball machines galore, but they also have a large selection of retro and newer games as well!
This beautiful building is located on the University of Texas campus as part of the Benton Museum, and is to die for. It is a stark white building, that has stained glass on 3 of the 4 walls, allowing rainbow patterns to be produced inside!
Kyle found this huge antique mall for us to visit, and it did not disappoint! With tons of things to find, especially if you spend the time looking, it is a spot not to be missed! Kyle got even more ViewMaster reels and even some cool Western mugs!
A cool record shop located on the North Loop, next to Blue Velvet Vintage. Not only do they sell tons of vinyl, they also sell refurbished old school record players.
If you’re wanting an old school Texas souvenir, like a pair of cowboy boots or a stetson hat this is the place to stop by. It’s on the main part of Congress Avenue, and has tons of boots and hats to choose from. It’s where Kyle got his newest hat.
A cavern system outside of austin that is one of the best preserved in the country. We didn’t get a chance to visit, but I know Kyle wants to the next time we are in town.
If you want to get gorgeous nail art done in a rainbow house, then this is the spot for you! Even if you don’t want to get your nails done, this is such a cool place to just stop by and admire! The outside is painted in a colorful rainbow and the inside is just as cute!
This delicious BBQ joint serves up the best brisket I have ever tasted! Though it was strange that it was served cafeteria style (I haven’t had a meal that way since middle school!) it was soooo good!
Literally, some of the most delicious tacos we have ever eaten! Not only are they all over Austin, but they are also on Postmates! You can bet we had it for dinner almost every night we were there!
As if one good taco spot wasn’t perfect enough, there was also Fresa’s for us to chow on. It’s not a real Aww Sam trip if we don’t eat our weight in tacos, right? They also have two locations in Austin, both of which are super cute!
Gourdough’s is a public house that also has an airstream that sells Giant donuts with the craziest toppings! If only I could have one for breakfast everyday! Ha!
Right across the street from The Austin Motel, Amy’s had Delicious ice cream and sorbet with soooo many toppings! Kyle really loved the sorbet he got, too!
Austin’s favorite brunch spot, we had to make sure we ate here at least once! We stopped in for brunch on a Saturday, and we had reservations, since it is always packed! It lived up to the hype and then some!
This cute little shop has awesome decor, and the BEST chicken biscuit I have ever had! It’s one of the cutest no frills places I’ve ever gotten to eat in.
You can bet that no matter where we go, we have to find the best ramen spot. This is Austin’s most popular ramen eatery, and it was pretty packed when we got there. The ramen was delicious and totally worth the wait.
We didn’t end up eating here during our trip, but everyone seems to love it! It’s located right next to the Austin Motel, practically a foot from your front door if you are staying there.
Sour Duck Market is the sister location of Odd Duck, a New American style eatery that’s off of Lamar Ave. Sour Duck Market is actually a food hall, but the food they serve is just as good as Odd Duck, except you can eat it outside in the awesome weather.
And that’s it! Even though we were there for almost a week, I feel like Austin still has so much to offer, and I can’t wait to go back and find more awesome spots. Who can beat the trifecta of tacos, thrifting and warm weather? Talk about a dream to visit! Did we get your favorite place on the list? If not let us know where we need to stop next time we visit and I hope this guide helps you find some of your own magic in Austin!